Gifts for the make it yourself kind of food lover


Now, these can be a tricky kind of food lover to buy for, as they love to get into the nitty gritty of preparing food. They certainly aren’t going to love a pepper grinder. Here’s five ideas for gifts that might do the trick.


Helping out at Brays Cottage, producer of the best pork pie


Learn how to make pork pies from the best!

We love Bray’s Cottage pork pies in this house, and now Sarah is revealing the secrets to great pies and sausage rolls at the Macarons & More Cookery School. Great course, great people, fabulous location, so you could make a weekend of it. Classes fill up really quickly so check the site regularly for new dates.


Pro Q Ranger Elite Hot & Cold Smoker Starter Kit


Smoke it Yourself

Smoking your own food has been a bit of a thing recently, and it would certainly give them plenty of options on different things to produce. The Pro Q Hot & Cold Smoke Kit means they can do things like hot or cold smoked salmon, smoked cheese, possibly even smoked vodka. It’ll certainly keep them busy through till New Year.


Sixty year old sourdough starter from Hobbs House Bakery


Guarantee them great sourdough every time

Sourdough starter can be a tricky thing, but is essential for making your own sourdough bread. If they’re keen, then give them some vintage starter with the 60 year old starter from Hobbs House Bakery. Complete with instructions, this should guarantee you some fabulous bread over Christmas and beyond.


Chocolate making and tasting events at Paul A Young


Eat chocolate, make chocolate

I love Paul A Young’s approach to chocolate in all its forms. If you think they’d love some time trying some of his creations and then learning some of the secrets behind them then this could be for them. From a vertical chocolate tasting of bean through to bar, and then learning about tempering and ganache making, they’ll come away with not only a taste for the good stuff but new skills too.


Food DIY by Tim Hayward for the make it yourself food lover


The DIY manual for food techniques

This is the perfect book for MIY food lover, it covers how to make everything yourself from sausages to smoked salmon, bacon to buns, sloe gin to sourdough. So if you know they love to make, or the idea of it, but just aren’t sure where their interest lies, then this might well be a perfect gift as they decide what to tackle next.

Choose right, and you may not see much of them through the rest of the festive period as they get seriously into making mode.


The Friday Five – compiling an early Christmas list


One of the bonkers aspects of my working life is that it’s always Christmas in July, which is when all the press show for Christmas products are. So there do seem to be a lot of days at the moment when the reindeer are out, the tinsel is strung…it’s all very seasonal.

So this list is probably very premature for Christmas, as these books are not available yet, but I can imagine when they are then I might well be considering them joining the bookshelves here:


James Morton Brilliant Bread - a great cookbook for a bread making food lover


Brilliant Bread by James Morton – no one rocks a tank top like James, and he was certainly my choice for winner of GBBO last year, as I thought he was incredibly inventive. Just goes to show how one bad choice can change things. Great to see a book from him and, let’s face it, I’m probably a bit off Paul Hollywood at the moment. Trying to keep the kitchen a cliché free zone.


Food DIY -how to make your own kind of food everything. A great cookbook for DIY loving food lovers


Food DIY: How to make your own everything by Tim Hayward – now, from the title list I haven’t got very far on this but I do make a mean sloe gin. But if you’ve always wanted to make your own bacon or even sourdough then this is the book for you. I love Tim’s writing (the incident of the oysters in Fire & Knives was one of my favourite). Probably would buy it just for the writing, but bound to end up making stuff.


Sunshine on a plate by Shelina Permaloo


Sunshine on a Plate by Shelina Permallo – definitely no cookbooks on my shelves covering Mauritian food, but watching Shelina cook made me want to learn more. And particularly when there are mangoes involved. Not to mention some incredible spice blends. If it’s going to be another miserable winter then cooking these recipes might bring sunshine into the kitchen.


The Gilbert Scott Book of British Food


The Gilbert Scott Book of British Food – whilst never having eaten in the restaurant, the bar at the Gilbert Scott is one of my favourite places for a drink before heading back home on the train. And can even be tempted by the bar menu, and have never been disappointed. This is interesting, contemporary British cooking which I can imagine turning out for gatherings of friends.


The French Market Cookbook


The French Market Cookbook: Recipes from my Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier – if you follow me on Twitter you might know about my adventures with vegetarian cooking thanks to MGG’s recent conversion. Is there a more inspiring place for vegetable shopping than a great French market? Would inspire most of us to give up meat!


Christmas may be months away, but maybe a small treat now wouldn’t go amiss! And when the good weather comes (fingers crossed) then you’ll have some lovely new recipes to work through.